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How can I avoid purchasing Sea-Sand Buildings and Radioactive Buildings?

Recently, there has much upheaval regarding the issue of sea-sand buildings and radioactive buildings in Taiwan. Many sea-sand buildings and radioactive buildings have been found, yet more remain. Such a phenomenon has caused panic in the society. Therefore, how one can avoid purchasing sea-sand buildings and radioactive buildings has become a major concern for all house buyers. So, how exactly can we avoid buying sea-sand buildings and radioactive buildings?

1. Buy houses from reputable developers or real estate agents in the industry. Due to the fact that those companies cherish their reputation, they tend to take more responsibilities for any problems with the houses they construct than companies which only complete one-project.

2. Ask the developer to note in writing that the property purchased is not a sea-sand building in the contract as the evidence for possible claims in the future.

3. Pay more attention to buildings situated in regions where radioactive buildings have been found, and request the seller provide a radioactive testing report or to carry out such testing before a purchase.

4. Hire relevant organizations for safety testing and evaluation. Qualified organizations for such services currently include the: Architects Association, Civil Engineering Technicians Association, Structural Engineering Technicians Associations and Industrial Technology Research Institute.

Moreover, the Ministry of Finance has also determined that any sea-sand buildings identified by government institutions or structural engineering associations may receive property tax deductions based on the degree of damage according to property tax regulations, i.e. for those with damaged areas covering 30-50% of the building area, property tax will be reduced by 50%. Those with damaged covering more than 50% of the building area will be exempt from the property tax.

There are other relevant issues related to sea-sand buildings in the Consumer Protection Law; which indicates that if the consumer unfortunately buys any sea-sand building after act’s enactment (1994.1.1.), the consumer may request compensation amounting to triple of purchasing price from the developer.

Concerning the dangers caused by sea-sand buildings and the protection of citizens’ rights, the standards for Sea-Sand Building Demolishment and Reconstruction Regulations and compensations are as follows:

Standards for Demolishment and Reconstruction:
Buildings with 20% of the contaminated residences containing an Annual Collective Dose of over 0.5 rem and one residence containing a dose of over 0.5 rem; or 20% of the contaminated residences containing an Annual Collective Dose of over 0.5 remand are not suitable for any improvement measures other than demolishment and reconstruction.

Reconstruction Compensation Measures:
Applications for reconstruction may be made to the local building authority within three years after being identified as meeting the standard for demolishment and reconstruction. Upon the Executive Yuan’s approval, the residences may be reconstructed at the original building’s coverage ratio, with an additional increase of 30% of the floor area ratio or total floor area.

For buildings which do not meet standards for demolishment and reconstruction but containing an annual collective dose between 0.5-1.5 rem, residents may apply to the Atomic Energy Council for improvement design and planning and an improvement construction grant within the budget of NTD $400,000.

Sea-Sand Testing Organizations
A. Industrial Technology Research Institute
Fee Basis:NTD$5,000 for the first sample, then NTD$2,000 for every extra one.

Radiation Testing Organizations
A. Radiation Protection Association
Fee Basis: Area under 50 pings, NTD$3,000 for every case.
Contact No.: (035)722-224

B. Fu-Hsin Corp.
Fee Basis:
Area under 32 pings: NTD $2,500.
Area over 32 pings, NTD $80 for every extra ping
Contact No.: (02)736-3656

C. International Hwashen Corp.
Fee Basis:
Area under 20 pings: NTD $2,500.
Area between 20-50 pings: NTD $3,000.
Area over 50 pings: NTD $4,500.
Contact No.: (02)368-8182

D. Becquerel & Sievert (formerly known as Transtex Corporation)
Fee Basis:
Area under 20 pings: NTD $1,600.
NTD $400 for every extra 10 pings.
Contact No.: (02)2702-9086